Summit for traditional landowners

Traditional landowners around the country will be given the opportunity to be informed and contribute to the establishment of better processes and procedures, especially with regard to investment development prospects on their land.

Over the next four months, regional consultations will be held between landowners, developers, financial institutions and government agencies over customary land.

The first summit will be next month in Port Moresby, and will target stakeholders and partners in customary land development, including customary landowners.

“We want to hear your suggestions and recommendations on how we can make customary land issues and the laws more better to serve our customary landowners and people,” said Lands Minister Justin Tkatchenko.

The first Lands Summit was held in 2005, but was broad on land issues. This summit will concentrate on customary landowners’ issues.

“The encouragement to all the participants out there, customary landowners who have been aggrieved with so many issues that have been taking up and not resolved, this is the big opportunity. And as I said it’s a nationwide consultation,” said acting Secretary Lands and Physical Planning, Oswald Tolopa.

Executive Manager Niugini Land and Properties, Dr. Charles Yala, said: “Let’s not make this workshop that the Minister is talking about as another complaint forums, they should be very clear. Come forward with real, clear problems, and what you want done. Let’s not accuse each other. At the end of the day, this is us, it’s our land, it’s our life, and it’s our future.”

The 2005 summit had 53 recommendations, one of which saw the establishment of the Lands Dispute Court.

“The Investment Promotion Authority is also part of this because they manage the companies act in this country and the act does not provide for landowner companies. And we’ve got to empower the project, look at how we can design landowner companies that work well for landowners,” added Dr Yala.

(From left: acting Secretary for Lands and Physical Planning, Oswald Tolopa, Lands Minister Justin Tkatchenko and Executive Manager Niugini Land and Properties, Dr. Charles Yala)

Sally Pokiton